Elizabeth Milnikel brings her professional expertise as a law school professor with her personal passion in the arts (and her experience on the board of a small arts organization) to this position. Elizabeth Milnikel is the Director of the Institute for Justice Clinic on Entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Law School. Under Beth’s guidance, Chicago law students take their first steps into the practice of law by providing legal advice to lower income entrepreneurs. Recently, Beth and her students have negotiated agreements for a toy company’s characters to be used in a video game, advised the founders of a barbeque sauce business on how to structure their shareholders agreements, drafted loan agreements for a stand-up comedy producer, and assisted a café through the maze of license and permit requirements. Beth also teaches a seminar on entrepreneurship at the University of Chicago Law School, to introduce law students to the significance of entrepreneurship in our system of government and the legal obstacles entrepreneurs must overcome. Under her leadership, the Clinic has extended its reach to many entrepreneurs and community leaders, so that many more people may learn why the law must be made a help, rather than a hindrance, for inner city entrepreneurs. In 2009, she co-authored a study of legal obstacles to entrepreneurship in Chicago, Regulatory Field. The study has inspired politicians and the public alike to advocate for legislative reform.
Beth came to the IJ Clinic from the law firm Sidley Austin Brown & Wood, where she practiced for several years with a specialty in intellectual property litigation. Prior to joining Sidley, she clerked for the Honorable Bruce M. Selya on the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. Beth received her J.D. magna cum laude from University of Michigan Law School in 1999. During her time at Michigan, she served as Managing Editor of the Michigan Law Review and interned in the General Counsel’s office of the Guggenheim Museum. As an undergraduate, Beth studied Comparative Literature at Yale University, graduating magna cum laude in 1996.
Beth remains active in the arts as well, singing in both the Apollo Chorus of Chicago and Chicago Chorale. She served on the board of Apollo Chorus for many years, including terms as Membership Chair, Vice-President, and President.